Quick Takes

Keck calls for sports gambling revenue to be used to improve school safety in Kentucky

By: - April 7, 2023 12:37 pm

Alan Keck

Days after it was legalized in Kentucky, Republican governor candidate Alan Keck called for future revenue from sports gambling to be used for improving safety in Kentucky’s schools. 

In a campaign press release, the Somerset mayor said he recognized that some Kentuckians oppose sports betting. “That’s why it’s essential to me that we use the majority of these funds in a way we can all agree on, and making our schools safer is most certainly one.” 

“Public safety should be the number one priority of any executive office holder,” Keck said. “It remains mine and is a core pillar of the Keck Game Plan for Kentucky. With that in mind, we are advocating for new school safety standards across the Commonwealth that utilize funds generated by sports gaming. The safety of our children and educators is paramount. We should invest this new revenue swiftly and wisely to ensure their protection, as school shootings continue to pose a significant threat across the nation.”

While Keck said that future gambling revenue will likely not cover the cost of all of his proposals, the press release said, it would “provide a good foundation for future investment in improving school safety in the Commonwealth.”

The press release said Keck’s plan for school safety:

  • “Makes it possible for veterans, including military police, to volunteer or work as school resource officers, increasing the number of SROs available to school systems across the state.
  • “Creates custom training for veterans, including a full week of active shooter training. Currently, court security officers in Kentucky only receive two weeks of training, so this initiative expands on that requirement.
  • “Transitions all glass exit doors or walls in Kentucky schools to bulletproof glass.
  • “Installs and expands the use of video, camera and security technology on all school campuses.”

Sports gambling was among the topics discussed by Republican candidates during the Louisville GOP debate last month. There, Keck said he supported legalizing sports betting. 

Other candidates also gave their views on the issue. State Auditor Mike Harmon said he had been against expanding gaming in the past. Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said unregulated gaming is bad in Kentucky and it was appropriate for the General Assembly to consider a framework. Attorney General Daniel Cameron agreed that lawmakers should consider regulations, adding that he could support it with tight regulations. 

Twelve Republicans will be on the May primary election ballot in the Kentucky governor’s race. 

A bill legalizing a framework for sports betting passed through the General Assembly in 2023 and was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who is seeking reelection. 

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McKenna Horsley
McKenna Horsley

McKenna Horsley covers state politics for the Kentucky Lantern. She previously worked for newspapers in Huntington, West Virginia, and Frankfort, Kentucky. She is from northeastern Kentucky.